Men over-represented in new cancer data

Friday 7 December, 2012

A timely reminder to cut cancer risk

Last year, 15,695 Victorian men were diagnosed with a new cancer, almost 3,000 more than the number of women diagnosed according to Cancer in Victoria: Statistics and Trends 2011 (PDF 485kb), a new report released by Cancer Council Victoria today.

The report reveals that in total 28,405 Victorians were diagnosed with cancer and around 55% of them were men. Men were also over-represented in the number of cancer deaths – 5,921 Victorian men lost their battle with cancer compared with 4,710 women. In total 10,631 families spent the last holiday season without a loved one they'd lost to cancer.

Cancer Council CEO Todd Harper puts the difference largely down to the historical prevalence of cancer risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption amongst men.

"The statistics show a clear trend – cancers associated with smoking and alcohol consumption, such as lung cancer and liver cancer, tend to be much more common amongst men than women. It's a timely reminder for us all, men in particular, to cut our cancer risk," Mr Harper said.

"Some research also suggests that men tend to present when their cancer is at a later stage, which may be a factor in differing survival rates. My advice to Victorian men is to be aware of any unusual changes to your body and get them checked. Equally, screening for cancers such as bowel cancer is important because cancer can develop without symptoms."

In 2011, men were more likely to be diagnosed with cancers where smoking is implicated, including lung cancer, bladder cancer and stomach cancer. Men were also more likely to be diagnosed with non-gender specific cancers associated with alcohol, including oral cavity cancers, oesophagus cancer, larynx cancer and liver cancer.

The following two tables show how over-represented men are in both new cancers and cancer deaths with respect to a number of non-gender specific cancers.

Type of cancer Total new cancers % of cancers that affected men
Larynx 
130
90
Bladder 
605 
78
Liver 
378 
73
Oesophagus 
309 
70
Oral cavity 
291 
67
Kidney 
720 
67
Stomach 
568 
65
Lung 
2480 
60
Lymphoma 
1320 
59
Brain and central nervous system
506 
57

 

Type of cancer  Total deaths  % of deaths that were men
Larynx 
48 
85
Liver 
298 
74
Bladder 
272 
71
Oesophagus 
244 
68
Melanoma 
322 
67
Kidney 
205 
64
Stomach 
362 
62
Lung 
1946 
61
Oral cavity 
87 
60
Brain and central nervous system 
369 
59
Bowel
1310
53   


Director of the Victorian Cancer Registry, Helen Farrugia said up to one third of cancer deaths in Australia are caused by preventable risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol or not taking part in screening programs.

"In Victoria last year 10,631 people lost their battle with cancer. It's distressing to think that unhealthy lifestyle habits might have contributed to more than 3,500 of those deaths," Ms Farrugia said.

"Now is as good a time as any to start living a healthy, cancer-smart lifestyle. You can reduce your risk by quitting smoking, being SunSmart, limiting your alcohol intake and taking part in recommended cancer screening programs," she concluded.

Updated: 07 Dec, 2012